Google ‘Shopping’ tab in India; may partner with Flipkart, Paytm, Snapdeal

Google will soon launch its ‘Shopping’ tab in India, which will allow users to browse for products and redirect them to merchant websites or e-commerce platforms. A Google spokesperson confirmed this development and said this would help customers shop quickly and more efficiently from local merchants. The company is planning a full-fledged launch for the feature later this year.

Google is in talks with e-commerce giants like Flipkart, Paytm Mall and Snapdeal to be a part of its shopping tab initiative, one of the sources told the paper.

Apart from the big players, Google is also tapping registered small and medium enterprises (SMEs), ranging from kirana stores to high-end handicraft stores, to help users find the products they are looking for.

Just like the News and Images tabs on Google, the Shopping tab will allow customers to sift through listings of various websites for the desired products.

Users will gain a lot more control over their search with this tab, as opposed to the present ‘product listing ads’ that Google puts out. They can, for example, put filters on their search and get more details of the product.

Google runs a Shopping tab in over 30 countries and has reportedly seen a high degree of conversion and high level engagement by its users in those markets.

Some experts think that the Shopping tab is a precursor to the e-commerce marketplace Google might set up eventually.

“It is like how Amazon launched price comparison website before foraying into e-commerce after it got consumer data. Google will also understand Indian shopping trends first through the Shopping tab,” a source said.

Google is venturing into product search as it is said to be losing market share to Amazon on product searches in the US, which inadvertently translates to a fall in ad sales.

Amazon, through its Prime programme, has built a strong network in the US retail market, which makes it difficult for any other tech company to overpower.

At least 50 percent of all product search begin at Amazon in the US, and Google is losing its shoppers due to this, which in turn has affected its ad revenue, according to Arpan Seth, Partner at Bain & Company.

Amazon’s annualized ad revenue is just $6 billion, as against Google’s $40 billion, but the former is growing at around 132 percent quarter-on-quarter.